This week is National Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) and local health leaders are thanking all volunteers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

There has been an outstanding response of people volunteering to help across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) during the COVID-19 pandemic and the local NHS is marking the week by thanking everyone who has registered to be an NHS volunteer responder and offered their time to help the NHS and other local healthcare services.

The three Chief Executives of the local NHS in LLR, said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the public’s generosity and the number of people who have been coming forward to help others during this very challenging time.

“We want to celebrate all of our registered volunteers and all those who have come forward to support the NHS and local residents.

“The local response has been fantastic and even though we may not have needed to call upon everyone, just knowing you are available to help is testament to the fantastic public spirit we have in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

“Locally, we have 1200 volunteers across the NHS who regularly volunteer for us and some of whom are continuing to volunteer in slightly different roles during the pandemic.

“Additionally, we have 9,413 people registered as NHS volunteer responders via GoodSAM, 2,501 volunteers registered with Voluntary Action LeicesterShire, a number of mutual aid groups who have been volunteering their time to support neighbours on their street and of course, many individuals who have been giving up time to support vulnerable family members, neighbours and friends.

“Thank you to each and every one of you for offering support during this time, however small, from prescription collections, picking up essential food items, phone calls to vulnerable people and making donations. Your contribution has made a massive impact and difference, especially to those who have needed the help and support.

“We stand by what we have said all along – we are in this together. Your efforts to help those most in need makes us proud to be working together to protect and support our communities and our NHS.”

Monika Ciapala, a regular patient transport volunteer with Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) added: “Being a volunteer enables me to play a little part in the NHS which means a lot to me especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“My usual role as a volunteer has ceased however new roles have popped up, all of which I’ve never done before. These have included making deliveries for PPE, wobble room supplies, medication and sandwich supplies across LPT sites. I look forward to returning to transporting patients again as I miss having fascinating conversations in the car.”

Shital Popat, pharmacist and owner of the Pearl Pharmacy in Leicester explained the significant impact volunteers are making during the pandemic: “During this weird time in pharmacy we have had to face many challenges, one of them being the increase in deliveries due to people self-isolating and shielding as advised.

“I would like to say a big thank you to all our volunteers. Without them our job would have been difficult to do and more importantly, our patients would not have received their medications in a timely manner.”

If people would like to offer their time, there are many opportunities to volunteer at local NHS hospitals, food banks and befriending services, which can be supported from home.

To find out more about volunteering contact your local hospital, council or local charity organisations. People can also register online to volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic: